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A Press Democrat Blog

Extra Credit

Daily education news and conversation

Torlakson sworn in as state superintendent of schools

Californians have a new Superintendent of Public Instruction. Tom Torlakson was sworn in this morning at Mt. Diablo High School where he used to teach science and history. Barbara Nemko, superintendent of Napa County’s Office of Education, administered the oath of office. “We face huge challenges in California,” he said during the ceremony. “Yet we also have incredible opportunities – to make the investments that restore our state to its rightful place as a leader in public education; to give… Read More »

Laguna High honored by state

Outgoing State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell on Friday released the top 27 continuation high schools in the state. Laguna High School in Sebastopol was honored as a “2011 Model Continuation High School.” Continuation high schools serve students who lack sufficient school credits and are at risk of not graduating. The model schools program is a partnership of the state Department of Education and the California Continuation Education Association. “These schools create a culture of learning for and provide educational… Read More »

Local schools awarded federal grants

Santa Rosa City Schools and Cotati-Rohnert Park have won a combined $240,000 from the Enhancing Education Through Technology competitive grants. Santa Rosa was awarded $190,000 and Cotati-Rohnert Park will get $50,000, according to the California Department of Education, which announced the awards today. In Mendocino County, Ukiah Unified was awarded $50,000 and Leggett Valley Unified got $10,000. In Lake County, Konocti Unified got $50,000. “These grants will help schools use data effectively to improve student achievement and close the achievement… Read More »

Schools chief cheers move by Brown to eliminate Ed. Sec

Not surprisingly, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell on Wednesday cheered Jerry Brown’s announcement that he wants to eliminate the state Secretary for Education position. Here is O’Connell’s full statement: “I applaud Jerry Brown’s decision to work closely with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education, and eliminate the position of secretary for education. For too long, governance of education policy in California has been buffeted by too many competing forces. While I have admired… Read More »

UPDATED: O’Connell to visit Windsor High today

UPDATE: Windsor High Principal Marc Elin just sent these photos over from today’s luncheon with State Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell. Check them out. ______ Outgoing state superintendent of schools Jack O’Connell will visit Windsor High School this afternoon and take a tour of some of the school’s career technical facilities, according to principal Marc Elin. “We’ll go on a walking tour that will highlight career tech,” Elin said. O’Connell is expected to get a glimpse of Windsor High’s digital media,… Read More »

Test scores: Should we aim higher than 800?

In a teleconference with reporters on the release of the latest round of API and AYP scores, state schools chief Jack O’Connell said now is the time to consider upping the state’s goal from a target of 800 to something beyond. How much beyond, he wouldn’t say. Now is the time for “thoughtful and open discussion with our educational community…as to whether we should raise the API score past the 800 target,” he said. O’Connell acknowledged the recent budget cuts,… Read More »

Five Sonoma County seniors to be honored in Sacramento today

Five Sonoma County students are expected to be in Sacramento today to receive Comcast’s Leaders and Achievers scholarship. The following students will win $1,000 each: Ryan Afflect of El Molino High Maria Dilley of Cloverdale High Jonathan Edens of Rincon Valley Christian School Lauren Gibson of Ursuline High Anjelica Price-Rocha of Petaluma High State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell is expected to speak at the ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol, as well as Senate President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.… Read More »

UPDATED: 10 Sonoma Co. schools on state ‘Distinguished’ list

UPDATE II: I mistakenly left Austin Creek off of the list. It’s been added below. ______ UPDATE: This is the elementary school list. When the secondary list is released, I’ll do a follow-up post. ______ Ten Sonoma County elementary schools have been named to the state’s 2010 California Distinguished Schools list. There are 484 schools on the elementary school list. “The 2010 California Distinguished Schools have been selected because of their academic excellence and for narrowing achievement gaps,” said state… Read More »

Two Sonoma County schools honored by state

Two Sonoma County schools are among those being honored by the California Department of Education as a 2009-10 Title 1 Academic Achievement Award winner. Piner Elementary and R.L. Stevens Elementary schools were among the 238 honored by the state. “These award recipients prove that with hard work and high expectations, students can overcome challenges and achieve academic success,” said state schools chief Jack O’Connell in a statement. “By working together, administrators, teachers, staff, students and parents have raised student achievement… Read More »

New state system to help track kids — will it help locally?

State schools chief Jack O’Connell announced this morning that the state is implementing a new “Migrant Student Information Exchange” system to help teachers and administrators keep track of students, their academic records and other information. As described by the California Department of Education, the system is designed to help track students whose parents are seeking temporary or seasonal work in the agricultural, fishing or dairy industries. Students who arrive at a new school will be followed by the transcripts and… Read More »